PHD #233: Saving Sergeant Richards
Saving Sergeant Richards
Summary: A rescue is made good on after Sergeant Richards gets a distress signal out.
Date: 19 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: All Aerilon logs
Vandenberg Lunair Crowe Richards 
Slavers' Encampment
A slavers' encampment built in a destroyed town.
Post-Holocaust Day: #233

It's been several weeks since Richards dared to come out of hiding, the crevice in the rocky outcropping exited so that he can possibly regroup with the others and get them off of this dead planet. Or at least that was the plan. After a week's worth of travel, his path taking him in a haphazard zig-zag instead of a straight A-to-B line to try and throw off anyone who might be following him, he arrived at what was once the town of Neath only to be greeted by the sight of craters and ruined buildings and a group of bandits who captured him and sold him for slave labor.

Those he was forced to work for were less than kind to him, putting him through hell with many hard hours of labor and very little in the way of food or drink to sustain him. It was a week later that he discovered he was able to free himself and a stealthy escape was made after night fell and he was able to make his way to a radio to call for help and then the waiting game could begin.

With the fight from earlier interrupted by a mission call, the briefing was sufficiently short. Which also means that they don't have a lot of information. Piled into a Raptor, six Marines geared up and left for the coordinates. Well past dark, the team donned night vision goggles as they exited the Raptor about a mile from the reported source of the radio call. With all of them piled out and the Raptor shut down, Vandenberg calls a quick huddle. "Sergeant Crowe, you're on point. I'll stick to the middle. Stagger formation. Same rules apply. If it stinks, stop us. Any questions?"

Crowe is still rolling his shoulder a bit, working the kink out from the fight. Luckily a thermal pad on his ribs is handling the mild bruising there quite well. He's been checking and rechecking his rifle, and when the huddle is called he moves in to listen. A shake of his head is his only real reply, beyond, "Point, got it LT." He pulls back on the lever on his rifle, chambering the first round and flips the safety on. Given he's on point, he moves to the hatch first, to lead the team out.

Lunair is piled in, likely as she was around. She shakes her head at the questions prompt. "No sir," She offers quietly. There's curiosity and a bit of worry. She is settled in though, and mercifully one of those .5 Marines.

Vandenberg nods around to the Marines. "Lock and load. Hold fire until I give the order to open up. Otherwise we are Fire Hold." She reaches up to run the bolt on her rifle with a metallic clank. Off from the huddle, she follows off in trail behind Crowe. She stays, as promised, towards the middle of the squad with her rifle up and ready. With the NVGs on, the world looks so much different at night bathed in a sea of green and black. Its enough to make her smile at the cool toys.

NVG's lowered and locked into place, Crowe waits for the ramp to finish lowering and then he's out and down it, rifle at the ready, NVG targeting system engaged. He moves with the fluid grace of a well trained field Marine, even if he is part of an MP squadron right now. He does it all. Remaining on point, Crowe begins to lead the firing squad away from the Raptor.

Lunair is still settled in, listening to her orders and happy to not being charge for once. She bravely, bravely guards the rear. At least they will be safe in terms of backsides. She nods at the comment to Fire Hold. She has a quietly dignified, distant and almost noble expression as if she should be sitting atop a horse and watching something from afar. Regardless, she follows. As adept at following as anything else.

The radio signal was caught by one of the bandits' sensors, unfortunately. What this means for the in coming Marines is that their arrival is expected and that Richards has somehow slipped his bonds and got a call out also doesn't miss their notice, putting them on the alert. Thankfully for Richards, he has been able to elude detection beyond that and has found a safe place to keep himself. Add all of this up and it's going to make the rescue difficult as 1) a firefight is pretty much a given and 2) they're going to have to sniff out the hiding place of the very man they're trying to get the frak out, making the Marines work to earn their cubits tonight.

Approaching the target zone, Vandenberg clicks her teeth. Its almost the sound of a stick breaking. Calling a halt, she makes her way up to Crowe. Hushed tones all around, she's barely audible to the man next to her. "Take Parker and Jenkins and flank left over this little ridge. I'll take Lunair and Davis and move up the center. The target should be a building about two hundred yards out. If you make contact, use your own judgment. Any trouble, break radio silence. Go." She motions for them to move on before signaling to Lunair and Davis to move up with her and relays the information. "Safties off." The Lieutenant rotates in the squat and begins moving forward once more, one slow step at a time.

Crowe halts when the order is given and nods quickly to the orders that are given. He doesn't speak at first, just point at Parker and Jenkins and motioning them over. Once they are next to him he motions to the left where they've been ordered to go, "Flanking position boys. Parker, I want you on my left, Jenkins on my right." He flips his safety off, motioning for them to do the same, "Only open fire on my command, got it?" Both of them offer a nod and he moves to the left flank, leading his team that way.

Lunair halts too. She lets her eyes slip towards Vandenberg, almost a habit. Shifty git. She nods and stays neatly alongside Vandenberg, in a sort of crouch-slink. She's had to sneak before. The safety is off. She follows, strangely colored eyes peering about as if air itself might attack her.

Once in position they'll find an encampment that easily spans 25 meters in any direction in a messy circle of sorts, it built around what seems to one have been a small residential area of some kind. There's little in the way of physical barricades outside of improvised barbwire fencing, it designed in a hurried manner that will be easy to work one's way past. It's what is on the other side of the fencing that might be a problem as there are quite a few men, their glowing green bodies numbering twice as many as the Marines. Sure, it's not the kind of odds that will be world-ending but seeing as how they are expecting visitors they have that to their advantage.

Vandenberg comes to a halt behind a tree, staring at the targets beyond before she sweeps the area around them. She waves to Lunair to get her attention. Her hand points towards the target before holding up one, then two fingers. Twelve targets, straight ahead. She steadies rifle against the tree before pressing her throat mic. "Able Zero-One, Able Actual." Its barely a whisper. "Contact in the ville. Count twelve from this angle. Think your boys can put a pair of forty millimeter grenades in the center of them? We'll sweep right to draw fire while you flank. Call when you sweep into their position and we will cease fire." Her eyes never leave the men before she asides to Lunair, off the radio. "Get ready to haul ass. Open fire when I do."

The message is received and Crowe looks to his team, nodding once. He loads a grenade into the launcher on his rifle, "Alright boys, I'm launching the first. When I load the second, haul ass for the left flank in the three line, twenty meters out. Let the other team provide the cover fire for me too. Don't open fire unless I'm being fired on, I don't want to give our new position away." And with that he fires off the first grenade into the ground and ducks down, loading the second while the two men in his firing team run off fast for the tree line. He then stands and launches the second grenade before running to meet up with his men. He arrives next to his men, sliding behind a bush, "On three we move in to close range."

After the first grenade, and a cue from Vandenberg, Lunair watches the Marines ahead of her. If she's worried, it doesn't show. But not much does. She prepares to give cover. And cover she does, neatly bothering anyone who will try to pick off the enlisted in front. Her normally friendly, quirky self fades quietly to a solemn automaton.

Out of the twelve seven are rendered out of action with five men dead and two rapidly approaching becoming so as they lay on the ground bleeding out. The five that remain are quick to move into action although they're not really able to provide the kind of coverage needed for defensive fire. Rounds ping off dirt and rocks and trees, aimed for where they believe the grenades came from.

The first grenade lands and that's all the cue Vandenberg requires. The safety is flicked to single shot and she's off moving down a cut through the forest, running at full speed for a large fallen tree about twenty yards away. It should provide good cover. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! The rifle barks over and over. The GMAR quickly drains towards zero, the trigger pulled every time her boot hits the ground. The other Marine is right behind her, blasting away in three round burst. The whole treeline around them flickers with their bursts of gunfire, muzzle flashes glinting off flying brass in the dead of night. The sound is deafening. But the enemy is shooting for Crowe, their rear's hanging out for Vandenberg's team to get nice shots at. She clicks the radio, "Zero, Actual! Covering fire! My team, FORWARD!" The Lieutenant drops a magazine out and reloads with all the efficiency of someone who has been at war for eight months and flicks over to three round burst as she presses the attack.

When the cover fire starts Crowe starts the count down, "Three…two….one, Go!" and while it's a whisper, it's a commanding whisper. Crowe and his two men move out from behind the trees and haul ass towards the remaining combatants, "Able Actual, Able Zero-One, sweeping into position, cease cover fire!" Crowe calls into his comm and then begins to open fire on the targets that remain as the distance his closed, his men doing the same in single fire mode. Shots ring out across the night as the second Marine team does their job as well as they know how.

Lunair is covering! Mightily! Bravely! Kind of! The poor purple eyed people shooter was tragically one of those officers resigned to a peaceful planet post. But she's apparently no slouch at this, and might even show a little talent at it. She's more interested in suppression for now, leaving others to more accurate shots. Though, she's just covering. Peer, cover, peer. She doesn't want to lose anyone, or shoot anyone in the face (They'd probably apologize to her) mistaking them for a duck. She inches forward when cued to with a grunt.

Three more bandits are mowed down but in their wake more arrive, six more men with their rifles leveled and fired. They were inside one of the ruined buildings so can't be sure where the enemy's to be found but they're going to do what they can to keep the Marines at bay if they can't kill them. Maybe they'll get lucky and drive off the CMC.

Still running at the edge of the little encampment, Vandenberg and Davis cease their fire when Crowe calls for it and slide into cover behind the remains of a burned truck. But when even more arrive, Vandenberg curses. "Lunair! On me!" She peeks out from behind the truck and looks at their line of approach. "Zero-One, Actual. Hold position in cover. Maintain fires. We're going to flank around to the right and take this new group." She's suddenly become the cool customer on the radio. "Cease NVG use. Watch for flashbangs on the enemy position." She lifts her goggles up off her eyes on her helmet with Davis. the Lieutenant motions for the other two team members to follow her around to a nice position at the rear of the approaching men. Van isn't dawdling, either.

"Copy that." Comes Crowe's deep, gravely voice over the radio and the pulls off his goggles as he and his men slide into cover behind the wall of a broken down building, "NVG Free boys. You two take the other side of the wall, lay down covering fire for Able Actual, I'll take this side, keep them guessing. Move out." On his word, the other two men move to the other side of the wall. The loud cracks of their rifles letting off covering fire can be heard. Meanwhile, Crowe's shooting is a bit more targeted, using the return fire muzzle flashes as indicators of where to shoot so Vandenberg's group can flank the new firing team that just arrived.

A soft grunt. Lunair isn't much for words when working. Odd. Lunair frowns, seeing more arrive. Her eyebrows furrow. Though one might not see much, given her helmet. She grunts softly. Lun moves easily, low to the ground like a trained ferret or something. She's at least good at it. She doesn't offer input, settling instead for watching, listening and making sure no others are coming to join the party. She slinks alongside Van, keeping one of her flanks nice and covered at least.

The spray-and-pray tactic gets even more frantic when two more of the bad guys get killed, it evoking a rather primal need to survive. A tree gets torn up pretty well and the leaves shake free from the branches and sparks fly when a round ricochets off of a rock but their lack of training, near panic and the lack of illumination is working against them, giving Vandenberg and those moving with her time to get in behind them.

Davis and Vandenberg slam against a low wall and the Lieutenant peeks around the corner. She holds up four fingers before reaching into her vest for a flashbang, motioning for Lunair to do the same. "Zero-One, Actual. Throwing flashbangs into the target area. Cease fire when they go off as we will be sweeping. Hold position after we call clear then stand by for further. Prepare for our engagement." Her bright green eyes settle on Lunair. The Lieutenant looks positively keyed-up and fueled by adrenaline. Raw aggression leaks from her features. She counts down slowly, mouthing it to the Jig. "Three. Two. One." Van yanks the pin from the flashbang and throws it towards the group. As soon as they go off, she and Davis are up and running, spraying aimed automatic weapons fire into the deaf, dumb, and blind opposition.

Crowe and his men continue to provide covering fire until that flash bang goes off, "Cease fire." he hisses at his men, and they do as soon as the area lights up. Now it's time to let Van and her time close the gap. He keeps himself near that corner, peeking out every few moments to ensure Actual doesn't get pinned down. While he isn't firing at the moment, he swaps his clip out for a fresh one, just to be on the safe side.

Oof. Lun is … not so skinny. She tries to squish against the wall. Lunair nods and gently slips out a flashbang. "Got it." Where Vandenberg is keyed up, Lunair is tense, quiet and solemn - a strange contrast and maybe lending credence to that serial killer thing. She tosses one on the call after yanking the pin. It bounces off something and goes off. Doink! Fire soon follows.

The flashbangs are effective and as the bright lights and loud noises are emitted when they go off the bandits cry out in confusion along with pain as one unlucky sod had the misfortune of being within the blast radius. At the same time there's a thudding from within a recessed area that has a heavy crate somehow pulled before it. Along with the chaos there are a few mewled out cries which sound like 'help' but they too are nearly drowned out in the chaos.

After three or four more minutes the rest of the slave keeping bandits are killed and there are no more arriving to help.

It might appear to be chaos to anyone else. To the Colonial Marines, this is just another day at the office. Vandenberg leads her team through the killzone with the same confidence she's shown for the last eight months. One of the severely wounded is still reaching for a rifle and Natalie puts another round into his chest. "Able Zero-One, Actual. Looks sanitized for hostiles. Post your team to watch and join Lieutenant Lunair to investigate some sounds. I need to report in." Vandenberg motions for Lunair to find the source of the voices with Crowe as she steps away and begins reporting in to the Raptor: "Sierra One-Five, Able Actual. Ville is swept. No friendly casualties. Estimate seventeen or eighteen human enemy Kilo India Alpha. Securing the position, now." The Lieutenant starts peeking around corners, her rifle leading the way.

"Alright boys, sentry positions along the northern and western perimeter, call in anything out of the ordinary. Do not fire unless fired upon." Crowe states in his deep monotone and then moves off over to Lunair rifle still at the ready, "Lieutenant Lunair." he offers on approach to the woman. "What noise are we investigating exactly?" There were a lot of noises and he was ALL the way over by another building. Come on, throw a Sarge a bone.

A bit more chaos than Lunair prefers. Her nose wrinkles. She winces as another goes down. She doesn't look happy. Must still be somewhat soft. That'll change fast. She strains to hear, "Got it." She grunts softly. "Help… I hear the soft cry. It sounds like-" She points in the direction of the noise. Kinda. Sorta. She's got decent ears but they're still ringing from everything. She shakes it off though and inches along, towards the source of the noise. The recessed area seems likely. One doesn't want to stick their head out in chaos that involves bullets unless one enjoys air holes or extreme piercings. She moves easily along with point, one of those whacky officers who goes along in front. Those tend to be the ones who end up like swiss cheese. Still, she's careful.

The sound from behind the crate gets louder as the area is approached while the other cries begin to grow quieter, indication that one location is at the other end of the camp from the other. There is a THUDTHUDTHUD that is what will be recognized as a rhythmic signal code, it saying SOS and then /MAYDAY over and over.

Vandenberg is busy with her radio calls and isn't hearing any of this. She's sweeping corners and talking to the Raptor crew back at their landing zone.

Since Lunair doesn't seem to respond to Crowe at all really, the Sergeant grumbles a bit and moves off towards the crate, rifle at the ready as he does so. It could be a trap…Or it could be someone in need of rescuing. He holds up a hand, signaling Lunair to come with him, since his men are on sentry duty, but he remains silent now, not wanting to alert a possible ambusher of his presence. He arrives at the crate and listens again for something to happen.

Hmm. Lunair pauses at that. She pauses. SoS. Mayday? Going towards /that/ one then, slinking like a greased weasel down stairs. Rifle at the ready she nods and motions at the thumps. She'll… poke it.

The thudding continues but now it's mingled with something else…a name - Richards, C - and then an attempt at tapping out what must be a service number. Crowe would be the only one out of Lunair and him that might know it, assuming he hasn't forgotten Richards since they've been separated.

Eventually Vandenberg has started working her way over towards the cries for help, motioning for Davis to follow her. She secures fro the radio and continues on, rifle up at the ready. They've been shot at too many damned times by survivors in the past twenty four hours.

"Watch my back." Crowe states and slings his rifle around his shoulder. He draws his sidearm and uses the butt end to smack on the crate three times, "I'm movin this crate. If you aren't Richards, I'm blowin' yer frakkin head off." And with that, the large marine starts shoving the crate out of the way. Being the size of a redwood is good for something.

A soft nod at that. "Got it," Lunair boggles briefly. Buncha tall dudes in their unit any more. She just quietly files it away as the Gods having a sense of humor. She glances over her shoulder. Holds up a 'suspect' 'one' survivor'. She is quiet though, keeping her weapon drawn and steady.

"Crowe…?" There's no sign of the man inside at first, the shadows still covering his face but once the box is moved he peeks out, his eyes squinted some. He's gaunt and pale and looks like crap and that's just his facial features. Gods only know what the rest of his physique is like. "Frakker…man, hey. Sorry I got lost, eh? Who else is around here?"

Lunair is respectfully quiet, turning away to watch their backs and sides. "I hate to piss on the parade, but I suspect it would be wise to do our reunions onboard the raptor…"

The moment that head peeks out, there's a gun barrel to it, though once Crowe gets a look at Richards, he lowers the weapon, "Damn Richards…You look like shit." His sidearm held out for Richards and his rifle is unslung from his shoulder and held while he waits for him to take the gun, "Go meet up with the LT, help her investigate the other crates." And then a glance to Lunair, and a nod, "I agree Lieutenant, time for us to wrap this up."

The noise is several other slaves who have been crying for help since they realized they stood a chance of perhaps being saved or, if not saved, maybe being blessed with a fate less miserable than the one they have forced upon them now. Those people equal in five in number, all laborers who were forced to serve the bandits by performing the same hard manual labor the Sergeant was made to endure. When Dick gets out and stands up it'll be easy to see just how bad off he is as well; not the buffest of men normally, the months of lean living and the past two weeks of abuse and mistreatment has his uniform hanging from him, his arms and legs almost twig-like. "Yeah, Sarge. I'll go find her," he mutters tiredly before going to find the Lieutenant, not realizing that it's Vandenburg.

Vandenberg emerges from the building a few moments later with a few people in tow, Davis helping a particularly bad-off man. "Sierra One-Five, Able Actual. We're gonna need another Raptor down here for immediate medevac. Go ahead and bring your bird over. We'll mark with flares. Actual, out." She reaches into her vest and removes a small penflare, cracking the end on her kneepad and tossing it into an open area. "CROWE! Report!" she hollars, still not seeing who is heading her way.

"Sergeant Richards heading your way, LT. Ugly bastard was hiding behind one of these crates. Apparently he wasn't Marine enough to handle these bandits on his own." Crowe shouts back with a smirk, and then the gets on to his radio, "Able Zero-One, let's close up the perimeter, bring it back home. Rally point is red smoke, head on back." And with that, Crowe heads off towards Vandenberg as well.

"Hey Shortround," comes a gravelly voice, it undeniably Richards' but it's weary and he's probably in need of some water. "How are the prisoners?" Looking over his shoulder, he frowns a bit before reaching up to rake fingers through hair that's matted with dirt and crap and is entirely too long to be within regs. "Sorry I didn't make it back but I'll explain what happened after we…are not here." Long stories do not make for good entertainment while still in an area which might get hot.

"Whiskey Tango-" Vandenberg turns with the reply from Crowe and is met with the face of Richards. She looks him up and down, resettling her rifle when he speaks up. The Lieutenant was -going- to smile. He just shot that down. "Doing well, Sergeant." Its her 'Caution. You are frakking with an unstable person.' voice. "We've just called for medevacs. Should be here momentarily. Why don't you take a seat and have a wait." She reaches behind her for a canteen and holds it out for the man. "Here. Plug it with this. Drink slowly or I'll take it away." By force.

…Shortround? When Crowe arrives near Richards he gives the man a Crowe-Smack, which is a smack on the back that is as likely to fracture your spinal cord as it is to say 'Hey, how are ya'. "So pansy boy, you couldn't handle a couple back alley thugs, huh?" He acts as though he is going to pause, but instead just keeps talking, "I understand, not everyone can be as frakking impressive as I am." A glance to Vandenberg, "Or the LT is." And then he holds his hand out for his sidearm, "Not gonna be needin that anymore now…"

Richards eyes the lady and then actually glares at Crowe, that being for the whack upside his head as well as his assessment over the situation. "Yeah, let's see you frakking do better, you ape," he hisses while holding out the pistol, making Crowe take it from him instead of the other way around. "I tried to return to Neath but found you guys were gone and the town was a crater…" Shrugging, he just falls quiet, not wanting to risk anymore ribbing from the others, too tired and sick to handle it well even if it is good natured.

The first Raptor circles overhead, throwing dust and enemy tents all over the place - but mostly out of the way. The second Raptor can be seen waaaay up in the atmo dropping through like a streak of light. "Richards? Your ass is on the first Raptor out. That means this is your ride," she calls over the wind and engines. "I'll find you ass in Sickaby and we'll debrief. I wanna hear what the hell happened to your. Your boys said you were dead, honkey." She manages a smirk that more closely resembles a sneer. The transport touches down and the hatch opens, the ECO offering a hand to help people up.

"Just remember, this ape saved your pansy ass, Richards." Crowe states in his deep, cold tone as he takes the gun, and slings it into his holster, "And for the record, I did do frakking better, the entire time I was on this rock." Crowe has never been known for niceties, and Richards is treading on thin ice with him. right now. He then moves over to Vandenberg, shaking his head a bit, "Shit LT, I thought Richards was pretty tough before. Any idea what happened to that guy, the one we actually fought with?" Ok, now he's just trying to get a rise out of Richards.

It's a good thing that Richards is exhausted and been ordered to get on the Raptor otherwise Crowe just might have a fight on his hands. "Yeah, LT. I'm on the ship." Once it's landed he's climbing the ramp and getting himself settled in, facing the other way as the jump seat is laid out along the same bulkhead the hatch is on. Spares the Sarge from getting a rude gesture from him, at least. For now.

"You know, Crowe? One day you're gonna meet someone as big as you that has better things to do than beat up on their poor, defenseless commanding officer." Vandenberg casts a smart-ass smile at the Staff Sergeant. There's just enough light from the Raptor to see the bruises on her face. "See you back on the ship, Richards. Welcome back to the fleet!"

"Day that happens LT, is the day I get a fair fight. Frak, I was kinda hopin Richards would take a swing at me." Crowe really is a crazy ass bastard. "Sides, more fights I'm in, tougher I get. Tougher I get, tougher the Platoon gets. Tougher the Platoon gets, more frakkin Cylons we kill. Sounds like a damn good reason to be an ass to me." Did Crowe seriously just rationalize his asshole behavior by arguing it's best for the Corps? Maybe he's smarter than people think…Or WAY dumber.

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